To an Unknown Soldier of the Great War,
It’s been almost a century since your death now. Whoever you are. There could well be no one left who remembers you or knows your story. But still the echoes of your death can be heard, ringing out clearly in the silence of those two minutes. One day a year, we remember your sacrifice.
All of those men and women and children; poppies pinned to their chests, hands clasped as they pray for peace. You are on all of their faces and in all of their hearts. You, who was so maimed that you were rendered unrecognisable. Whose family might never have known whether you were alive or dead. The Unknown Soldier. You are the real horror of the war; you are everything we learned from it.
You crossed the channel with a smile and a song, waving as Dover vanished into the horizon. But those majestic white cliffs would be the last you ever saw of England. It was The War to End Wars, but it never did. Nine decades on, a little girl stands at the cenotaph with Daddy’s medals pinned proudly to her cagoule. Seven years old, and already she knows the tragedy of war.
Tomorrow, the poppy is put away and we return to our peaceful lives. But on one continent you still lie under a white headstone, and on another our men still fight for our freedom. We remember for one day, but soon we will forget. Until next year.
But you did not die in vain. Even if only for one day a year, we remember what you did for us. In such a hateful world, we gather together in remembrance and in the hope of peace.
Dear Unknown Soldier, you did not die in vain.
You died for us.